New Act drafted to combat TIP in Guyana

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A new Combatting of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Act to better fight against TIP in Guyana has been drafted and will be put forward to legislators for consideration shortly.

Coordinator of the Counter Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) Unit, Ministry of Social Protection, Ms. Tanisha Williams- Corbin said the previous Act was passed in 2005 and needed to be reviewed. She explained that the review was done through consultations and a new Act was subsequently drafted.

“The initiative falls under a TIP project funded by the United States, Department of States and is implemented by International Organisation for Migration (IOM). In collaboration with IOM and the Ministerial Task Force for TIP, consultations were held with stakeholders and the new Act was drafted by consultant Rosemary Benjamin-Noble,” Williams- Corbin said.

Almost three years now the Unit has been collaborating with the IOM, and the two partners are currently working on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for responding to TIP in Guyana.

The Unit’s Coordinator said the SOPs will help with more effective ways of responding t0 investigations and prosecutions of TIP cases as well as protection and reintegration of TIP victims.

Coordinator of the Counter Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) Unit, Ministry of Social Protection, Ms. Tanisha Williams- Corbin

“The Ministry of Social Protection has received the final draft of the investigation and prosecution SOPs and we have since submitted our final comments to the consultant Ms. Diana Shaw. Once the document is returned to the Ministry, we will sign on to the SOPs along with our partners,” Williams- Corbin underlined.

Ms. Shaw will also soon review the protection and reintegration SOP which deals with the provision of psychosocial support to victims of TIP, after which bilateral meetings and validation workshops will be held. The final document is expected by the end of this year.

Further, according to the C-TIP Coordinator, her Unit has participated in the recently concluded Regional Thematic Meeting on Trafficking in Human Beings and Smuggling of Migrants.

This meeting which was funded by the United States Embassy along with other partners, and organized by IOM, was held between CARICOM countries at Ramada Princess Hotel.

Williams- Corbin said that some salient initiatives which her Unit can implement to better respond and prosecute cases of TIP were noted from the meeting. These include strengthening of regional collaboration in combatting TIP, joint surprise inspection frameworks across the region and improving of data sharing across the region.

Also, coming out of the meeting, a smaller working group that will be looking specifically at responding to the Venezuelan migrant situation with a specific focus on the exploitation of workers is expected to form.

“The Ministry has already upped its game for responding to TIP cases involving the influx of Venezuelans. However, through the regional collaboration, we will be able to see what the other countries are doing and adapt similar measures. We will also be able to identify any gaps in our system that we can strengthen and we can also share our best practices with the other countries,” the C-TIP Coordinator expounded.

The C-TIP Unit has been and continues to provide support for TIP victims and to assist them to return home and be reintegrated into their respective communities. (Ministry of Social Protection)

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